Wednesday Jul 08, 2020
Former West Indies fast-bowler and commentator Michael Holding on Wednesday gave a fiery speech on racism and white privilege, citing flaws in education and written history as crucial factors behind systematic failures that have led to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Holding, who hails from Jamaica, said people around the world needed to go back in the history "to educate ourselves" in order to understand how racism has been ingrained in the system since more than a century ago, when the dehumanisation of the Black race started.
The former cricketer's powerful statement comes amid the raging Black Lives Matter protests — from Berlin to London and from Paris to New York — after Derek Chauvin, a while Minneapolis police officer, killed an unarmed Black man George Floyd by kneeling on his neck mid-arrest for more than eight minutes.
Elaborating his stance, Holding told Sky Sports host Ian Ward that education was important "unless we want to continue living the life that we are living, having demonstrations every now and again and a few people saying a few things".
"People will say, 'Oh, that was a long time ago, get over it'. No! You don't get over things like that and the society hasn't gotten over something like that," he lamented.
The top cricketer shed light on the case of Amy Cooper, a white woman who on May 25, 2020, falsely accused Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper — the two are not related — of threatening her life in the famed New York park.
“That lady in Central Park in New York — Amy Cooper is her name — if she did not have in her DNA the thought process that she was white and this man is Black and ‘if I call a police officer, 9 times out of 10 he is going to be white and I will be considered right immediately ... the Black guy will have to prove that he is not guilty and, by the time he has to prove that, he might be dead'.
“She had that in her mind from day one. That is why she said and did what she did. How do you get rid of that in society? By educating both side — Black and white,” Holding emphasised.
Speaking on the matter of religion and how people had depicted holy figures to their own convenience, 'Whispering Death' said: "I hear people talking about brainwashing and I didn't quite understand as young man what brainwashing meant. We have been brainwashed. And not just Black people. White people have been brainwashed in different ways.
"I go back many years, think about religion. [....] Look at Jesus Christ, the image they give our Jesus Christ: pale skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. Where Jesus came from?
"Who in the part of the world looks that way? But again that is brainwashing to show this is what perfection is and this is what image of perfection is," he underlined.
Speaking of theatrical plays, he said Judas — who betrayed Jesus — "is a Black man".
"Again, brainwashing people to think 'oh he is a Black man, he is the bad man'," Holding said, passionately explaining how deeply rooted racism has been in the society.
The fast-bowler then went on to give yet another example of systematic failure, saying everyone knew who Thomas Edison was but no one was aware that he invented the light bulb "without a paper filament".
"Thomas Edison invented a light bulb without a paper filament! It burnt out in no time at all," he added, visibly exasperated at how select information was taught in schools and passed down generation to generation.
"Can you tell me who invented the filament that makes these lights shine throughout? Nobody knows because he was a Black man. I was not taught in schools. Lewis Howard Latimer invented the carbon filament to allow lights to continuously shine.
"Who knows that? Everything should be taught," Holding added, noting that he remembered his school days and how he was never taught anything good about Black people.
"You cannot have a society brought up like that — both white and Black — that only teaches what is convenient to the teacher.
"History is written by the conqueror, not by those who are conquered. History is written by the people who do the harm, not by the people who get harmed.
"We need to go back and teach both sides of history and until we do that and educate the entire human race, this thing [racism] will not stop. They keep on telling me, there’s nothing called white privilege.
"Give me a break! I don't see white people going into a store and being followed. A Black man walks in and somebody is following him everywhere he goes. That is basic white privilege.
"Whether that white person robs the place or not, he is never going to be thought of that way and things like that have to change,” Holding concluded, heaving a sigh of despondency.